Malai Ful KhajaThe south Asian take on the Middle Eastern Baklava, ‘Ful Khaja’ can often be found in traditional Indian sweet shops. I often find that people are just astounded by the look of these before they even try them as they look so pretty! ‘Ful’ means flower and these sweets are named so as they are baked into little floral shapes which look impressive but are actually quite easy to do. These are normally made without the paneer and using rose water instead of orange in the syrup but the paneer adds a little moisture and another texture to the sweet and for me, the orange just makes a refreshing, citrusy change!
For the Paneer:
2 tblsp Lemon Juice
75g Coarsely Ground Pistachio Nuts
300g Caster Sugar
4 x 48cm by 25cm Filo Pastry Sheets
For the Orange Blossom Syrup:
4tblsp Clarified Butter/Ghee (melted)
250ml Orange Blossom Water
- Start by making the paneer – Prepare a colander by lining it with a cheese cloth and place it in the sink, ready to pour the hot milk into.
- Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy based pan placed over a medium heat.
- As soon as the milk comes to a rolling boil stir in the lemon juice to split the milk.
- After about 20 seconds you should see the milk solids separate and the liquid become slightly green in colour pour the entire contents of the pan through the lined sieve.
- Wash the paneer with cold water, tie up the cheesecloth to enclose the milk solids and tie the cloth so that it hangs from the tap to let all the excess water drain away.
- Leave to drain for at least one hour.
- In the meantime prepare the filo pastry - Place a sheet of filo pastry on a greased baking sheet and brush with a tablespoon of the melted butter.
- Layer the remaining three sheets of pastry on top of the first one, making sure to generously brush with butter melted butter between each sheet but leave the top sheet dry.
- Cut the filo into 8cm x 8cm squares.
- Pre heat oven to gas mark 6/200C/400F.
- When the paneer is dry place it in a blender with 150g of the sugar and pulse to form a smooth paste..
- Place 2 teaspoons of the paneer mixture in the centre of a filo square and press down to form a level rough square, leaving approximately a 1cm border of pastry around the edges of the paneer.
- Fold the corners of the pastry in towards the middle of the paneer square and gently press down so that you have a wrapped parcel of paneer.
- Repeat with all of the filo squares.
- Bake for 15 minutes until almost cooked and then remove from the oven.
- You will notice that the parcels have opened up and the paneer has shrunk down leaving the top of each parcel with a bit of space, fill each one with the ground pistachio nuts and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes or until golden and crisp.
- While the ful khaja are baking prepare the orange syrup – place the orange water in a pan with the remaining sugar and place over a medium heat.
- Allow the syrup to reduce by two thirds so that you have a thick, sticky sweet orange syrup to coat your ful khaja in.
- When the khaja are baked carefully drizzle the syrup generously over each on and leave aside to cool.
- Serve at room temperature.